Connect with us

World

UN chief visits Indonesia quake, tsunami survivors

Published

on

Antonio Guterres

Jakarta, Oct 12 (IANS) UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Friday visited the survivors of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that hit the Indonesian island of Sulawesi killing 2,073 people.

Accompanied by Indonesia´s Vice President Jusuf Kalla, Guterres examined the damage caused by the September 28 disaster in the city of Palu, reports Efe news.

More than 75 per cent of the 2,073 fatalities, according to the latest official data, occurred in this city where giant tsunami waves caused havoc to areas located hundreds of meters from the coast.

The UN chief also plans to visit Palu’s Balaroa neighbourhood, where thousands of homes were swallowed up by land liquefaction, a phenomenon that occurs when a strong shaking, such as that of an earthquake, liquefies soft soil, making the affected terrain sink and release waves of mud.

According to local estimates, some 5,000 people remain missing in Balaroa and the town of Petobo.

On Thursday, the authorities extended the search and rescue mission for survivors for another 24 hours, which will conclude at the end of Friday.

A team of 15 rescue personnel will remain in the area waiting for local requests to evacuate victims, Yusuf Latif, spokesperson for the national search and rescue agency in Palu, told Efe.

Rescue teams have not found a single survivor under the rubble for more than a week. Indonesian authorities said they will turn the areas most affected by the quake into memorial parks.

The catastrophe on Sulawesi Island is the worst experienced by Indonesia since the tsunami swept the western province of Aceh in 2004, killing 167,000 people.

The Indonesian archipelago is situated within the so-called “Pacific Ring of Fire”, an area known for its intense seismic and volcanic activity, which produce about 7,000 earthquakes each year, most of which are of moderate magnitude.

World

Late US President Bush secretly sponsored Filipino child

Published

on

George HW Bush

Washington, Dec 19:  Former US President George H.W. Bush, who passed away in November, has sponsored a seven-year-old boy in the Philippines for 10 years under a pseudonym, a non-profit who connected them has revealed.

Through Compassion International that uses churches to help children in poor communities around the world, Bush sponsored Timothy for a decade, the CNN reported.

The 41st US President, who passed away at the age of 94 years on November 30, sent funds that went toward Timothy’s education, extracurricular activities and some of his meals. The organisation has shared some of Bush’s letters with CNN.

The Bush family was not available to comment on the letters, but Jim McGrath, a spokesperson for the Office of George H.W. Bush, confirmed the letters’ authenticity.

Once the sponsorship began, Bush began writing to the boy right away. He said in his first letter, send on January 24, 2002, that he loved Timothy from the get-go.

“Dear Timothy, I want to be your new pen pal. I am an old man, 77 years old, but I love kids; and though we have not met I love you already. I live in Texas – I will write you from time to time – Good Luck. G. Walker”, a letter that perhaps was the first, read.

Despite concerns over his security breach, Bush continued his philanthropic mission and his letters to the child were some of the most endearing ones, Wess Stafford, the former president of Compassion International told CNN.

Timothy never caught on to the hints in Bush’s letters, and did not find out who his sponsor was until he had graduated from the program.

“After a while, my executive assistant, Angie Lathrop, took over the sponsorship, and after Timothy graduated at 17, she flew to the Philippines to meet him,” Stafford said. “That’s when she told him who his sponsor really was.”

Timothy was stunned, Stafford said. He really could not believe the man he had been writing letters to was once the President of the US.

Stafford said that Timothy told Lathrop he had no idea, and that the revelation was life-changing.

That was the last time the non-profit heard from Timothy, despite efforts to locate him, Stafford said.

Compassion International works through partnerships with over 7,000 churches in 25 countries around the world.

IANS

Continue Reading

World

Late rights activist Asma Jahangir wins UN Human Rights Prize for 2018

Published

on

Asma Jahangir
Asma Jahangir (File Photo)

United Nations, Dec 19: Late lawyer and human rights activist Asma Jahangir has been awarded the UN Human Rights Prize for 2018. Her daughter Munizae Jahangir received the prestigious award on behalf of her mother.

The award is given to individuals and organisations in recognition of outstanding achievement in human rights. Asma Jahangir was announced as one of the four winners of the quinquennial prize in October.

Receiving the award for her late mother, Munizae Jahangir dedicated it to Pakistani women and their courage. The ceremony was held at the UN Headquarters in New York on Tuesday.

Other prize winners included women’s rights activist in Tanzania, Rebeca Gyumi; activist for the rights of indigenous Brazilian communities Joenia Wapichana and Ireland’s human rights organisation Front Line Defenders.

Previous winners include Eleanor Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Jimmy Carter and Malala Yousafzai, the News International reported.

Asma became the fourth Pakistani woman to be awarded the UN Human Rights Prize. Before her, Begum Ra’Ana Liaquat Ali Khan (1978), Benazir Bhutto (2008) and Malala Yousufzai (2013) had been accorded the honour.

Asma, who died in February, was known for her outspoken nature and unrelenting pursuit for human rights as well as for remaining undaunted in the face of extreme pressure and opposition.

She is also remembered as a champion of the disenfranchised and for her services towards building a democratic and more inclusive Pakistan.

IANS

Continue Reading

World

Pentagon to establish ‘Space Command’

Published

on

Hack the Pentagon

Washington, Dec 18: While the Space Force would need congressional approval but US President Donald Trump issued an order on Tuesday directing the establishment of a “Space Command.”

Vice President Pence announced on Tuesday that the White House had directed the Pentagon to form a Space Command, a significant step toward the administration’s ultimate goal of establishing a department known as the Space Force that would become the first new branch of the Armed Services since the Air Force was created in 1947.

Trump said the new command will be created as a “unified combatant command” that will oversee all US military activities in space, according to his memo to Defence Secretary Jim Mattis.

The president has asked Mattis to recommend officers for the command’s leadership, the one-page memo said.

It added that a comprehensive list of authorities and responsibilities for the Space Command will be included in the next update to the Unified Command Plan.

Trump has been pushing to establish a Space Force by 2020, an idea that has been questioned by Pentagon officials and military experts worried about adding cost and bureaucracy.

 

Pence was speaking at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, where he was to watch the launch of a SpaceX rocket with a military cargo.

 

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Most Popular